Sunday marks the first day of the Year of the Snake!

In case you’re wondering exactly what that refers to, it’s the Lunar Calendar, based on the phases of the moon and an alternative option to the Gregorian calendar that we’re all so used to. The Shēngxiào, or Chinese Zodiac, associates each of these phases with an animal and that animal’s characteristics. These animals are each assigned to a lunar year, associating their various characteristics with those born in that year. It gets much more complicated then this of course, but you get the general picture.

Let’s check out some of the products and designs inspired by the Year of the Snake, like the 2013 YIU Studio holiday gift pictured below. But first, find out which animal represents you. Depending on what year you were born, you could be associated with any of these twelve creatures:

  • Horse — 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002
  • Sheep — 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003
  • Monkey — 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004
  • Rooster — 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005
  • Dog — 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006
  • Pig — 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007
  • Rat — 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
  • Ox — 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
  • Tiger — 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
  • Rabbit — 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
  • Dragon — 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
  • SNAKE — 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

Discover what each of these signs mean and the intricacies behind this form of astrology here.

Product and packaging design

The year hasn’t even begun yet and the snake is already inspiring companies to create special versions of their well-known products.

year of the snake

via Shanghai Tang

Moleskine created a special Feng Shui Diary for the year. Not only does it feature the snakeskin inspired cover, but also includes a series of Feng Shui guides to help the user have a prosperous year of the snake.

year of the snake

via Makeup and Beauty Blog and Sneaker News

M.A.C. Year of the Snake lipsticks are designed with an embossed carving of a snake into each tube, and Nike 2013 “Year of the Snake” Collection, inspired by Kobe the “Black Mamba” Bryant, play off of the snake-skin pattern in black.

year of the snake

via The Wall Street Journal

Johnnie Walker offered up a set of 12 Blue Label whiskies, each featuring a different animal of the Chinese Zodiac. The snake is in the middle — can you spot it?

Pop culture

But this is certainly not as early as the inspiration goes — the snake has been slithering it’s way through our creative thoughts for years, and in a whole variety of genres. Story-tellers found the snake to be an apt device for their tales, creating a mythology around the beast.

year of the snake

via Geek Tyrant

“Why’d it have to be Snakes” is by artist Dann Hipp. Can you recognize who these characters are and the movies which they’re from?

year of the snake

via Wikia and Kotaku

Snake-like characteristics are shared by two major comic book characters — G.I. Joe’s Cobra Commander and Metal Gear Solid’s Snake (art by Ashley Wood).

year of the snake

via Antonio de Padua Neto78

Sports also take from the powerful stories behind the snake to create an intimidating figure, like Kobe Bryant as the Black Mamba, artwork by Antonia de Padua Neto78.

Cultural delicacies

Yes, we do eat snakes sometimes. But you know what’s even better than that? The art of steeping a venomous viper in liquor, and then consuming it.

year of the snake

via National Geographic

I personally have always found the concept of snake wine and the imagery around snake wine, to be totally and completely fascinating. Like in the above image from National Geographic’s story “Venom,” image by Mattias Klum.

Clearly, also have the designers down below.

year of the snake

via Student Showcase and Absolut Vodka

The packaging design for Snake Blood Wine clearly refers to the “snake venom” concept, designed by Sasha Ermolenko. As does the advertising for Absolut Vodka, in it’s own way, also referring to the Bible tale of Adam, Eve, and the original temptation.


year of the snake

via Giant Robot

Cultural icon Giant Robot featured an entire gallery of snake-inspired artwork in a show celebrating the snake’s year. Shown above — “Loving You for 10 Thousand Years” by Mu Pan.

year of the snake

via Feature Shoot and Big Picture

Photographers aren’t immune to the snake’s charms either — Jonathan May features an African reptile farmer in his work , and Guido Mocafico boasts a beautiful project photographing brilliantly colored snakes against a black background.

Graphic design

Our designers have clearly also caught the “bug,” or rather, “reptile”.

year of the snake

Hotel Cobra logo by Oli

year of the snake

Logo for the Hampton Roads Vipers by Vespertilio™, logo for Snakes Lacrosse by Leamyone Design

year of the snake

Logo fo Samurai Snakes by CREATIVICA

year of the snake

Field Hockey Stick design by redzart

It seems very few can resist the aesthetics of the snake. Happy Year of the Snake!

Which of the 12 animals represents you?

Featured image: Pixel Push